Agriculture is a complex system that includes crops, livestock, soils, watersheds, climate, people, and other elements. Although it is critical to understand each of these elements individually, it is also important to understand how they interact and work together.
Systems science is all about understanding how systems function and the implications of decision making on these systems. Because our personal judgement can often lead to inaccurate assessments of the future, one of the important tools that we use is simulation modelling, which formalises our conceptualization of the way the world works. Someone once wrote ‘All models are wrong, but some models are useful’.
This implies that all models are simplifications of reality and are not perfect; however well-developed models can enhance our thinking and help us to better solve problems in agriculture. The Agricultural Production Systems Program works across centres to address multidisciplinary issues in agriculture, and develop improved systems of management.
For more information on the Agricultural Production Systems Program, please contact David Parsons